How Diversity Subverts the University

Opponents of campus affirmative action typically rest their case on the immorality of using racial or ethnic categories (more delicately called “diversity”) versus treating people as individuals. That objection is certainly valid but when it comes to hiring of faculty, the damage far exceeds just violating a principle. Racial preferences deeply corrupt and will inevitably undermine academic excellence in ways that campus outsiders seldom grasp.

To appreciate this damage, consider Brown University’s recent National Diversity Summit in which the school announced plans to double its “underrepresented” minority (i.e., black) faculty by 2025 — from the current 9% to 18% (women don’t count here since the proportion of female faculty is already more than 50% but the plan nevertheless calls for a substantial increase in women in science departments).

Strategies included creating post-doctoral fellowships for black scholars to be mentored by Brown faculty and attracting young blacks to the Brown campus with conferences. More forceful measures will entail asking departments to develop a “diversity action plan” whose annual goals would be monitored and requiring faculty search committees to ensure a diverse pool of minority candidates. In numbers, 410 black professors will have to be recruited…